12 Years a Slave leads the Independent Spirit Award Nominations


If you’ve been keeping up with movies this year, you don’t need me to tell you it’s been a phenomenal year for movies. If you haven’t been up-to-date, well there! Consider this my declaration. Although awards season has already been in full swing for several weeks now (months if you consider the fall trifecta that is the Toronto, Telluride and New York Film Festivals), it’s usually the Independent Spirit Awards nomination announcement that really shakes things up – at least in my mind.

I realize I’ve buried the lead here but the Indie Spirits have announced their nominees for the best in independent cinema for the year 2013 and for the most part, it’s a pretty terrific list of nominees. Guess that’s to be expected in a fantastic year for film such as 2013.

Leading the pack was Steve McQueen’s masterful 12 Years a Slave with seven nominations. The searing account of Solomon Northup’s ordeal was cited in the categories of Best Feature, Best Director (McQueen), Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o) among others. This is a wild prediction so bare with me here…  but I suspect the film will be popping up on the radars of nearly every voting film body from the Academy to the Florida Film Critics Circle from now to March. Like I said… just a wild prediction. I doubt we’re going to see much of this movie ever again but who knows. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic, and yea, I know… that was terrible).

Also picking up a ton of love from the group was Alexander Payne’s bittersweet slice-of-Americana roadtrip drama Nebraska with six mentions including Best Feature, Director, Best Actor (Cannes Best Actor winner Bruce Dern) as well as  supporting nods for Will Forte and scene stealer June Squibb.

Nominated alongside 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska in the top category are the Coen brothers’ melancholic 1960s-set folk musical Inside Llewyn Davis (with three nominations), Noah Baumbach’s touching Frances Ha (two nominations) and J.C. Chandor’s one-man show All is Lost (four nominations including one for screen legend Robert Redford). While I was bit disappointed that Mud (2 nods), Before Midnight (2 nods) and Blue Jasmine (3 nods) weren’t nominated in the top categories, there can only be five and it’s a great year for movies.

In the acting categories, Queen Cate Blanchett (my best guess as the overwhelming favorite) is nominated for the Best Actress award alongside Before Midnight‘s Julie Delpy, Short Term 12 breakout star Brie Larson, The Spectacular Now star (and soon to be anchor of the Divergent mega-franchise) Shailene Woodley, and Gaby Hoffman for Crystal Fairy. In the male equivalent category of Best Actor, the aforementioned Ejiofor, Dern and Redford are joined by Inside Llewyn Davis‘ Oscar Isaac, Fruitvale Station‘s Michael B. Jordan and superstar Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. How’s that for competition? I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being our final five at the Academy too.

Read the entire list of nominees below. Winners will be revealed at the annual pre-Oscar Santa Monica ceremony on Saturday, March 1, 2014. The show will be hosted by Patton Oswalt.

(Click on the highlighted movies to read my reviews of them).

Best Feature
All is Lost
Frances Ha
Inside Llewyn Davis
12 Years a Slave

Best Director
J.C. Chandor, All is Lost
Jeff Nichols, Mud
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Shane Carruth, Upstream Color

Best First Feature
Blue Caprice
Fruitvale Station
Una Noche

Best Screenplay
Before Midnight
Blue Jasmine
Enough Said
The Spectacular Now
12 Years a Slave

Best First Screenplay
Afternoon Delight
Don Jon
In a World
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Gaby Hoffman, Crystal Fairy
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now

Best Male Lead
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All is Lost
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Best Supporting Female
Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Yolonda Ross, Go For Sisters
June Squibb, Nebraska

Best Supporting Male
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Will Forte, Nebraska
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Keith Stanfield, Short Term 12

Best Cinematography
All is Lost
Computer Chess
Inside Llewyn Davis
Spring Breakers
12 Years a Slave

Best Editing
Frances Ha
Museum Hours
Short Term 12
Una Noche
Upstream Color

Best Documentary
The Act of Killing
After Tiller
Gideon’s Army
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

Best International Film
Blue is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
A Touch of Sin

Robert Altman Award

John Cassavetes Award
Computer Chess
Crystal Fairy
Museum Hours
Pit Stop
This is Martin Bonner

Piaget Producers Award
Toby Halbrooks & James M. Johnston
Jacob Jaffke
Andrea Roa
Frederick Thornton

Someone to Watch Award
Aaron Douglas Johnston, My Sisters Quinceañera
Shaka King, Newlyweeds
Madeline Olnek, The Foxy Merkins

Truer Than Fiction Award
Kalyanee Mam, A River Changes Course
Jason Osder, Let the Fire Burn
Stephanie Spray & Pacho Valez, Manakamana

Source: Independent Spirit Awards


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